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Stephen Denmark Future SS?

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Chicago Bears: Why Stephen Denmark could be safety of the future

There is at least one reason why Stephen Denmark could stick on the Chicago Bears roster.

Recently, we have been profiling a number of late round draft picks and undrafted free agents who have a legitimate shot of landing on the Chicago Bears roster. In our latest installment, we look at defensive back Stephen Denmark, out of Valdosta State.

Denmark is probably the least talked about of the Bears rookies, as even undrafted guys like Emanuel Hall, Dax Raymond, Mathieu Betts, and Chuch Harris have seemed to garner more attention than the seventh round draft pick.

However, Bears fans may want to start paying closer attention to Denmark who, for at least one reason, could end up sticking on this roster.

First, let’s take a step back and examine what happened this offseason. The Bears let Adrian Amos walk, not believing he was worth the price tag he was demanding and ultimately got from the Green Bay Packers. They replaced him with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who signed a one-year “prove it” type deal in the hopes of accomplishing something special in Chicago.

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There is no guarantee, however, he will be back next season. If he has the type of year he’s hoping for, it’s unclear whether the Bears will want to commit substantial money to him by way of a long term deal when they have a likely extension for Eddie Jackson looming.

For this reason, the Bears may look to convert Denmark from cornerback to strong safety where he could flourish. As a cornerback, Denmark is pretty raw and needs some refining of his technical skills. However, his measurables are off the charts and undeniable.

He stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 220 pounds, whose 40-yard dash time was 4.46, with a near 44-inch vertical jump. He is also an incredibly physical player and it has been speculated that a move to strong safety could be in his future as it would seem to better suit his skill set and measurables.

He’s fast, big, strong, hits hard, and is a strong tackler. He literally sounds like a made to order strong safety who could step in and replace Clinton-Dix when his contract expires. Having a young, talented, replacement who is cost-effective and under contract for a while, could be ideal for a team that is expected to be a little strapped in terms of the salary cap in the coming years.

As of the moment, there is not another suitable replacement on the roster, meaning if the Bears do not re-sign Clinton-Dix, they would have to either draft his replacement next year or sign another free agent. Again, they may not have the desire to commit salary cap space to the position. In terms of drafting his replacement, why not stick with the player who you could groom for a year in the defense, who would be comfortable playing next to Jackson?

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While he learns the position, Denmark could certainly find a role and excel on special teams, especially with his off the charts athleticism.

So while fans and pundits may be focusing on other rookies, it may be best for fans to set your sights on Denmark at training camp.

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I said that when they drafted him, but they didn’t even hint at it during OTAs.

It looks like he is a corner for now until or if he fails  at it.   If he does maybe they try him at safety which his body type is more suited for. 

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As Bears fans we have often had a habit of projecting CBs as Safeties.  When we lacked decent Safeties I guess that made sense.

With the emergence of Eddie Jackson FS is no longer and issue but with the likelihood that HHC-D will be too pricey to keep beyond 2019 we will have a spot in the secondary to fill either from the roster, another UFA, or in the 2020 draft.

Denmark strikes me as another of those college finds whose just too much of an athletic freak to ignore.  He played WR, was converted to CB for one season, and played well enough to earn himself a draft spot albeit a 7th round draft spot.

He could end up being a monster CB but then at 6'3"/220lbs with a 4.46/40 and a 44" vertical parking him in the middle of a defense defending the seam against TEs and becoming almost another ILB in run support is also an interesting prospect.

To me he's somewhat similar to a guy like RRH who you bring in and let coaching and time help make a determination as to where his best position might be.  Much like RRH can play DE or Edge it would seem Denmark could be either a CB or a SS.

We may have enough room to keep him on the roster and protect him from waivers provided he can play STeams and shows just enough to feel we could play him in certain schemes like goal line defenses where his size and height would be tough to counter.

We haven't talked about him much but he's one guy we should be watching closely during preseason to see just how good and smart he is as a football player.  That will be the key.

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21 hours ago, soulman said:

As Bears fans we have often had a habit of projecting CBs as Safeties.  When we lacked decent Safeties I guess that made sense.

With the emergence of Eddie Jackson FS is no longer and issue but with the likelihood that HHC-D will be too pricey to keep beyond 2019 we will have a spot in the secondary to fill either from the roster, another UFA, or in the 2020 draft.

Denmark strikes me as another of those college finds whose just too much of an athletic freak to ignore.  He played WR, was converted to CB for one season, and played well enough to earn himself a draft spot albeit a 7th round draft spot.

He could end up being a monster CB but then at 6'3"/220lbs with a 4.46/40 and a 44" vertical parking him in the middle of a defense defending the seam against TEs and becoming almost another ILB in run support is also an interesting prospect.

To me he's somewhat similar to a guy like RRH who you bring in and let coaching and time help make a determination as to where his best position might be.  Much like RRH can play DE or Edge it would seem Denmark could be either a CB or a SS.

We may have enough room to keep him on the roster and protect him from waivers provided he can play STeams and shows just enough to feel we could play him in certain schemes like goal line defenses where his size and height would be tough to counter.

We haven't talked about him much but he's one guy we should be watching closely during preseason to see just how good and smart he is as a football player.  That will be the key.

Just from a practical standpoint the path for him to becoming a viable part of our base defense is probably more open for Denmark at SS than at CB. Beyond that, the transition in terms of coverage skills needed at safety is probably shorter as well. We aren’t talking about someone with refined corner skills yet anyway so it’s not like we’d be reinventing the wheel on a finished product. 

I’m doing some tea leaf reading here but Denmark remaining at corner thus far could be seen to not bode well for what they see in Toliver. 

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47 minutes ago, AZBearsFan said:

Just from a practical standpoint the path for him to becoming a viable part of our base defense is probably more open for Denmark at SS than at CB. Beyond that, the transition in terms of coverage skills needed at safety is probably shorter as well. We aren’t talking about someone with refined corner skills yet anyway so it’s not like we’d be reinventing the wheel on a finished product. 

I’m doing some tea leaf reading here but Denmark remaining at corner thus far could be seen to not bode well for what they see in Toliver. 

Not true.  You always need a pipeline of corners.  

Prince may hit a wall any time now.  Maybe this year, hopefully not.  Fuller has played only two good/healthy years out of his career.  

Skrine is a one or maybe two year rental and isnt that good. 

It is also a position with low hit rate so you have to keep swinging at it every year.  

I just said SS because of his size.  You dont see many corners as big as he is.  Maybe he can be an exception, we'll see.  Like to see late converted WRs because you know they can catch.  

Good news at position is Fuller's arrow is pointing up and both Tolliver and Shelley reportedly look really good in practice.  

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5 hours ago, dll2000 said:

Not true.  You always need a pipeline of corners.  

Prince may hit a wall any time now.  Maybe this year, hopefully not.  Fuller has played only two good/healthy years out of his career.  

Skrine is a one or maybe two year rental and isnt that good. 

It is also a position with low hit rate so you have to keep swinging at it every year.  

I just said SS because of his size.  You dont see many corners as big as he is.  Maybe he can be an exception, we'll see.  Like to see late converted WRs because you know they can catch.  

Good news at position is Fuller's arrow is pointing up and both Tolliver and Shelley reportedly look really good in practice.  

Agree a pipeline of corners is needed, but there is also a finite number of positions available. Fuller, Amukamara and Skrine are locks and McManis is a virtual lock given his ST prowess and slot ability. That leaves Toliver, Shelley, Denmark, Michael Joseph and Jonathan Mincy competing for 1 or maybe 2 spots. Shelley probably has the leg up on all those guys IMO since he appears to be seen as the future nickel and that gives us 5 but realistically only 2 that we’d expect to play outside. Assuming no position changes that leaves Toliver and Denmark probably competing for 1 spot where as they’d probably like to keep both. This obviously opens up a bit more should McManis indeed moves to S as he did some during OTAs, but given Denmark’s pedigree I have to think they plan to stash him away for a year of development before making any real decisions about him. 

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